Why Are Flags at Half-Staff Today?
Flags are flying at half-mast today in observation of the 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
President Joe Biden has directed that flags be flown at half-staff through December 9, 2021 to honour the late Senator Bob Dole. The Republican from Kansas passed away on Sunday at the age of 98. Dole served in the United States Army during World War II.
Today flags will also be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset to remember those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor eight decades ago.
Many political leaders around the country have issued statements of remembrance. New York Governor Kathy Hochul is among those. In a written statement Hochul said, "The Greatest Generation bravely answered the call to defend our democracy during World War Two, and now we are being called upon to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. On the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, let's honor the sacrifices our parents and grandparents made to keep our country safe."
The attack at Pearl Harbor was, by most accounts, a pivotal moment in the history of the United States.
It was not until 1994, however, that the U.S. formally recognized National Pearl Harbor Day. The United States Congress declared the national day of remembrance on August 23, 1994. Remembrance events are held annually on December 7th at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial situated above the remains of the sunken USS Arizona. Other ships were also destroyed in the attack, along with 188 aircraft. The remains of many of those killed are still interred within the walls of the sunken ships.
During the surprise attack by the Japanese in 1941 on December 7th, 2,403 service members and civilians were killed at Peal Harbor, off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Another 1,178 people were injured in the attack. Although other battleships were destroyed, the permanent sinking of the USS Arizona and the USS Utah are usually the most-referenced.
Earlier this year the remains of nearly 90% of the remains interred on the USS Oklahoma, also destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, have been disinterred and identified.